Rhetoric and defence in early modern England
Date of Award
English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Sixteenth century readers were avid consumers of instructional manuals. These manuals have been largely ignored by modern scholarship. I examine two such manuals in detail, George Silver's 'Paradoxes of Defence' and Vincentio Saviolo's 'Practice'. Both were written by fencing masters living in London in the late sixteenth century and both outline the advantages of a particular style of fencing. Silver and Saviolo engage the same humanist concepts of eloquence and virtue. However, the rhetorical techniques they use emphasize different aspects of eloquence; Silver, following guidelines laid out in manuals by Cicero and Quintilian, uses 'enargeia' or 'evidentia'--bringing images before the eyes of his readers in order to persuade them--while Saviolo strives to achieve ' sprezzatura'--effortless grace--in his writing and to persuade his readers by adhering to the dictates of courtly manners as expressed in Castiglione's 'Courtier'.
Gibson, Laurie, "Rhetoric and defence in early modern England" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3349.